Welcome to Swoon Sunday where you get to meet some of our swoon-worthy heroes. Today we have a visit from Jake Gerritt Wallace from Paint My Body Red by Heidi R. Kling
What’s your profession?
Ranch hand. Part owner of Eight Hands Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Where do you call home?
Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
What kind of music do you listen to? (What song are you listing to on his iPod right now?)
iPod? Cowboys don’t use iPods. I listen to records and an occasional CD or radio in my truck. Mostly country music but whatever is on is fine. I’m not picky.
Do you have a special skill? Special skill?
Well, I can run a ranch if that’s what you mean.
What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?
To get Paige Mason to see what I see when I look at her. To save the ranch. To get Gus back on his feet and well again.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not doing more with my dad before he was killed; not taken better care of my mama once he was gone. I’m making up for it now, well, trying to anyway, with Gus and Paige and Anna.
What’s your darkest secret?
What I said above. I have big regrets about that. Also, I keep my feelings for Paige tight against my chest. She’s not ready, and I don’t want to scare her off.
What’s your favourite dessert/food?
Now this is a question worth answering! Anna’s strawberry cheesecake and her strawberry angel cake.
Describe your idea of an ideal date.
Me, Paige, a couple of long necks and a hayloft at sunset.
What’s your favourite pastime/hobby?
Who has time for hobbies? I read at night after the work is done. But I don’t consider that a “hobby” it’s just what I’ve always done. What would be your idea of an ideal vacation? Who has time for vacations?
Describe the craziest thing you have done.
Falling in love with Paige Mason.
Who is your idol?
Gus Mason. Best man I’ve ever known.
What is your favourite movie of all time?
Lonesome Dove. It’s a mini series not a movie, though. I also like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid quite a bit. Still hate the ending though.
What is one thing would you refuse to share?
What is the one thing that no one knows or could never guess about you?
I’m studying business at the local community college. No one knows about that.
Boxers or briefs?
Neither? Just kidding you. Boxers.
Froot Loops or Lucky Charms (or both)?
Eggs and bacon and toast with strawberry jam. Sugar cereals are for snotty nosed babies not grown men.
Early bird or night owl?
When you start work before sunrise, you hit the sack early.
Thank you so much for joining us, Jake! Now, here’s an excerpt from Paint My Body Red for our readers…
I glance over at my dad who is staring straight into the unlit fireplace. Jake kneels beside his wheel, confidently busying himself with Dad’s tubes and wires like it’s second nature. He’s saying something to him, something too low for me to hear. Now he’s walking over to me.
“Come on into the kitchen and help me get some tea, will you?”
I jump off the couch like its coils sprung me off. Jake stops short halfway down the dimly lit hallway, and I crash into him in an awkward way that sends unwelcome heat up my arms. He steadies me with a strong hand on my elbow and says in an insistent whisper, “You talk to him, Paige. He can hear you same as I can. His body is fading, but his brain is perfectly intact. You can’t have him thinking you’re afraid of him, of the way he looks.” His eyes dart away before he says, “He’s afraid enough as it is.”
He loves him. Jake loves my dad. I can tell. Why can’t I remember this sweet cowboy? It’s like everything good in my memories has been washed away by everything bad at home.
I fight away tears. “I’m sorry. It’s…I don’t even know him, anymore. Not really.”
He shakes away my words like they’re ridiculous. “He’s your father. Of course you know him.” His eyes steady me. Why do they have to be so, so blue? It’s like he can see into what’s left of my soul and is trying to rescue the remnants.
I suck in a breath. He’s standing so close to me. The soothing cadence of his voice makes me feel pangs of emotions I haven’t felt in a long time. Safe. Heard.
Why does it have to be so dark in this hallway?
He sucks in a deep breath, as if steadying himself, too. “Don’t be sorry, Cowgirl,” he says, softly. His words are harsh, but his voice is kind. “And don’t make excuses. Not to me, not to yourself. Excuses don’t work here on the ranch, remember? Just do better.”
Remember. He knows me. From before. Something clicks, and just like that I remember him.
About Paint My Body Red:
The world isn’t just black or white. Sometimes it’s red…
They think I’m next. That I’ll be the seventh kid to step in front of a train and end my life. With the rash of suicides at my school, Mom’s shipped me off to my dad’s Wyoming ranch for “my own safety.” They think I’m just another depressed teenager whose blood will end up on the tracks. They don’t know my secrets…or what I’ve done.
I wasn’t expecting Dad to be so sick, for the ranch I loved to be falling to bits, or for Jake—the cute boy I knew years ago—to have grown into a full-fledged, hot-as-hell cowboy. Suddenly, I don’t want to run anymore, but the secrets from home have found me…even here. And this time, it’s up to me to face them—and myself—if I want to live…